Just when you think you have everything prepared for your children for the new school year, you get an email with a supply list from teachers who I guess didn't consider the fact that some moms have a life! This happened to me today, and school started yesterday. This is a perfect example of the proverbial "wrench in the cog wheel!"

I am a full-time practicing physician, mother of three amazing children and wife to a husband who travels frequently for his job. I thought I might share some tips that have helped me get prepared and stay on top of things before school starts and throughout the school year.

  1. Avoid procrastinating! The number one killer to "staying on top," is putting things aside for later. Especially when it comes to home, work, school or kids' activities, getting things done as they come up is what works best for me! Every night, I have my pile of things that need to be done that I would most likely forget if they were not done immediately. Tonight, for instance, I am filling out permission forms for field trips, confirming hotel for Spring Break and paying a few bills. Anything that requires a phone call in the middle of the day (scheduling appointments for my child's medical history and physical to participate in sports, for instance), needs to be made during lunch or it will not get done. Everyone has a system, but I find this works best for me and keeps those "mental piles" from piling up!
  2. Keep a Calendar! Stating the obvious, but a great calendar on your phone is key to remembering the endless stream of birthday parties and ever-changing soccer schedules! I do not do well with a calendar with a bunch of dots on it. There are many calendar apps, if you have not looked in a while, that actually have things written for you in those little squares that you can blow up and see!
  3. Never assume that you know everything! I have a great group of networking moms that go into texting frenzies for clarification on anything and everything! Remember, it takes a village to raise a child and without my group of responsible moms, I just may miss out on the one thing my children may hold against me the rest of their lives!
  4. The podiatrist in me says: "Check your child's foot size before school starts and get those shoes now!"  I am always amazed how quickly their feet grow and it is easy to assume that they will still fit into the athletic shoes they started the summer with. 
  5. Get Amazon Prime! Nothing has singularly saved me more money than Amazon Prime! Regarding getting those last minute overnight with free shipping items for those short notice "Mom I need this before the weekend!" Amazon Prime has been a lifesaver!
  6. Don't Do Double Work! Make a photocopy or screenshot of the paperwork you have filled out repetitively over and over every school year! I kick myself on the years I forget to do it when I find myself painstakingly gathering all the information for emergency contacts, addresses, phone numbers of things that never change on these forms that I should have just had at the ready doing this one thing! (Yes, that was a run-on sentence! Whew!)
  7. Remind yourself about what is essential! In the day to night upheaval of keeping up, getting it done and being everywhere at once,  I just need to see my beautiful children's faces at the end of the day to remind me that they get all my attention until their heads hit the pillow! It does leave less "me" time, but my time with them is essential and too short lived!
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